Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Stefana Muller

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud

Open Source Cloud: Article

'Free' or 'Open Source' - Which Kind of Software Do We Need Most?

'Free' or 'Open Source' - Which Kind of Software Do We Need Most?

In many ways the differences between the Free Software and Open Source software movements have more to do with social goals than the software itself.  The Free Software movement had its roots in Richard Stallman's initial effort to create a 'free' operating system. This effort led him to quit a job at MIT and begin working on it full-time. His primary goal and motivation was to create something to which all users had free and open access and that could be inspected and modified by the users themselves.

He quit his job to dedicate all his time to this and to ensure that MIT would have no possibility of copyright or patent claims based on any of the work he did.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Richard and spent time discussing this exact point.

It was really about power in many ways. The power to know what the software on your machine is doing, and the power to change the software if you wanted to stop it from doing things you don't want or to add features to make it do what you need.

One of the great examples Stallmam uses regarding the value of free software today is 'spyware' -- code embedded in your systems that monitors and reports on your activities.

For example, if as a user you want to, he reasons, you should be able to modify Microsoft products to limit the amount of data that MS can collect on you and the applications you run. The central tenet is that this is a 'right' we should have -- a right that we as a user community have not claimed.

The goal of the Free Software movement is to provide free versions of software that does *everything* you need. Free operating systems, free utilities, free productivity applications, etc. Many even believe that software inside your cars, in your cell phones, in voting machines, in your Tivo box, in your entertainment systems, etc should all be free. We have the right, it is reasoned, to know what this software does.

[Look for the interview of Stallman to appear in an upcoming issue of LinuxWorld Magazine.]

Open Source

The Open Source movement, on the other hand, is based on sharing source for more pragmatic reasons. While user control of the software is certainly part of the reason for Open Source, it is not necessarily the primary one.

The reasons software is developed as open source have to do with the fact that it in many ways is a superior model for developing software. It allows the users themselves to fix bugs in the software, allows greatly expanded testing ('many eyes on the code'), and can speed innovation because it facilitates the adopting of new ideas from so many different sources.

The principle method by which software is considered 'open source' is if it is licensed under terms that meet those specified by the Open Source Institute (http://www.opensource.org/ ). The terms software must meet to be considered 'Open Source' are located at http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php. These terms were developed by Bruce Perens along with Eric Raymond and a few others. [Bruce is on the advisory board of LinuxWorld Magazine and we have reprinted a recent speech on 'the state of Open Source' in this month's issue. We also featured an interview with Eric Raymond in our October, 2003 issue.]

LinuxWorld Magazine will continue to provide information on both these communities. Our February, 2004 issue, for example, is planned to focus on nothing bu profiles of free and open source software projects and applications.

More Stories By Kevin Bedell

Kevin Bedell, one of the founding editors of Linux.SYS-CON.com, writes and speaks frequently on Linux and open source. He is the director of consulting and training for Black Duck Software.

Comments (8)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.